Lithuania and Poland to cooperate inducing autonomous driving on the highway “Via Baltica”


2018 09 05


The ministers of the Central and Eastern European countries responsible for transport sector are discussing the perspectives of expansion of transport infrastructure, implementation of joint projects, and innovations during the Economic Forum held in Krynica resort in Poland on the 05th-06th of September. The significant event for Lithuania and Poland happened – today, during the Forum, the memorandum of understanding on cooperation in order to induce autonomous driving on the highway “Via Baltica” was signed.

“The neighbouring Lithuania and Poland are connected not only by common transport infrastructure, but also by common objective of progress and innovations. The signed memorandum of understanding is a new and important step towards cooperation of the countries. I hope that the highway “Via Baltica” connecting the countries will turn into favourable medium for cooperation, exchange of the latest news and experience, whereas good practice will be also adapted for improvement of roads network of other Baltic States,” – says Mr. Rokas Masiulis, Minister of Transport and Communications.

The memorandum of understanding that encourages innovations was signed by the heads of four Lithuanian and Polish ministries supervising areas of transport and innovations: Mr. Andrzej Adamczyk, Polish Minister of Infrastructure, Mr. Marek Zagórski, Polish Minister of Digital Affairs, Mr. Rokas Masiulis, Lithuanian Minister of Transport and Communications, and Mr. Virginijus Sinkevičius, Lithuanian Minister of Economy.

“The companies operating in Lithuania are creating and making the systems used in self-driving cars, and they are developing software, so this industry together with popularization of self-driving cars are going to be of major importance for domestic economy. However, its growth will depend strongly on determination of the major manufacturers of self-driving cars to enter the region, firstly, to test the available systems, and afterwards to search for technological decisions, and to create them having employed the Lithuanian engineers and programmers. The joint project with Poland is a sign to the leading corporations that we are serious about the future of this technology,” – says Mr. V. Sinkevičius, Minister of Economy.

The purpose of this memorandum of understanding is to have a transport corridor, where it would be possible to test the self-driving cars that support interaction with environment, to attract their manufacturers, implanters of intellectual transport systems, and to accelerate implantation of 5G technology. This would allow Lithuania and Poland to search more actively and to attract testers and manufacturers of such cars. We also expect to receive investments of the Connecting Europe Facility’s (CEF) funds.

Lithuania also plans to expand cooperation in this area with other Baltic States. The Ministry of Transport and Communications is coordinating the trilateral memorandum with Latvia and Estonia regarding a transport corridor of 5G self-driving cars. It should be signed during the forum on 5G topic that will be held in Riga on this 27th-28th of September. “It would be a serious and visible project in the European context,” – says Minister R. Masiulis.

The testing of 5G international transport corridors was started in April 2017, when the declaration of intentions was signed in Rome. Later the meetings in Frankfurt (Germany), Gothenburg (Sweden) and Amsterdam (Netherlands) were held, after which the map of trans-European transport network 5G TEN-T was created. It includes testing corridors of self-driving cars passing at least two Member States of the European Union. The scheduled cooperation agreements in this area between Lithuania and Poland and then with other Baltic States will help to undertake concrete actions in order to include these countries into the map 5G TEN-T.

The European ministers of transport are also discussing innovations in road and railway transport, their implantation possibilities on the highways “Via Baltica” and “Via Carpatia”, and the European track in the railway line “Rail Baltica” during the Economic Forum in Krynica.